E3 Preview: Natal & Cirque du Soleil – A Match Made In Heaven


This is it –  the watershed moment of video game conferences. Sure, concerts and bands, as well as the movie industry, have long been associated with helping to grab the attention of the world media for video game publishers. But this time it’s different – now Microsoft move beyond the realms of simple co-advertisement to a fully-fledged artistic (and practical!!) demonstration of their wares…

The story goes that Michel Laprise, a big part of the success of Cirque du Soleil’s shows for the better part of a decade, made a strange-yet-appealing presentation to senior Microsoft executives. He dazzled them with an hour-long tale of “a boy on a quest to locate meteors that have fallen from the sky and uncover their meaning” – illustrated with a bucket of sand, “three rocks, a small wooden elephant and a flashlight”.

“It’s a story about humanity, about a quest and about overcoming obstacles,” Laprise told the LA Times.

“In history, there have been discoveries that have made us leap forward as a civilisation. But those technologies demanded that we master their language, the language of machines.”

“This time, it’s the machine that’s adapting. The human is at the center, doing what comes naturally. Moving, jumping, talking. And it’s up to the machine to interpret what that means.”

But why did Microsoft choose such a… well, untraditional, method of officially launching their product line and its capabilities? Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg has described the event as “a massive investment for Microsoft. For us, it wasn’t about the money. It was about creating an experience that would be remembered forever.” And that it will do, in spades…

Security has been ultra-tight on this one, and to top it off, it’s an “electronics-free event”. No cameras, no video, nothing. That will supress any hint of what to expect right up ’til showtime, so the impact will be staggering for those lucky enough to get a ticket to the performance. But, more importantly for us not able to fly to LA – and beside the impressions being brought to you by our own man on the ground, Mark – there will also be a special event shown of it on Foxtel here in Australia, showing on Saturday 26th June at 7:30pm AEST. That’s definitely one to write into the diaries (or at least set the recorder for…).

Regardless of what you think of the as-yet-unnamed “Project Natal”, this is certainly a massive event that shouldn’t be missed. Years from now, this will be one of those moments people look back on and ask “do you remember when…”, so make sure you catch the presentation in one form or another.

Let the Electronic Entertainment Expo for 2010 begin!!

Author: David Lynch View all posts by

Favourite games include Shadow Complex, the Assassin’s Creed series, and he lives in hope of a new console title in the Star Wars: Battlefront series.

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